Speech sound and language expectations for children

What should I expect of my kindy-aged child’s speech sound and language development?

February 23, 2018

Parents often wonder about what speech and language skills their child will need for kindy. With prep right around the corner, no time is to be wasted ensuring that your child is set up for success. When children are between 3.5-4.5 years of age, they are expected to be well on their way with their speech-sound, language and emergent-literacy milestones.

Kindy-aged children should,

Speech-sound development:

  • Kindy children’s speech should be clear and understandable 75% of the time when talking with unfamiliar people
  • The starting, middle and final sounds in words should always be included in their spoken words (e.g., bird, hammer, carrot)
  • You should be hearing bigger, multi-syllabic words in their speech (e.g., bunny, banana, computer)
  • Kindy children should be able to produce early stop sounds (t, d, p, b), fricative sounds (s, z, sh, f) and velar sounds (k, g)

Language development:

  • You should be able to have a conversation with your kindy-aged child. They should be able to tell you about their day and retell a simple story
  • Kindy-aged children should understand a variety of questions (e.g., who? what? where? why?) and should also be asking a variety of questions
  • Kindy-aged children should be talking with full sentences. In fact, as they pass 4 years of age, their language should be adult-like in nature!
  • Children in kindy should be able to follow multi-step instructions

Emergent literacy:

  • Children in kindy should have a love of nursery rhymes and shared book reading
  • Your kindy-aged child should experience joy interacting with books and answering questions around texts
  • As your child nears prep they will begin to understand the difference between words and letters
  • Your kindy-aged child will likely pretend to read and write

The kindy year is critical for preparing your child for prep. When children enter prep, they vitally need to have an adult-like language and speech-sound system so that they can have success with literacy (that is, formal reading and writing). If you have any concerns for your 3.5-4.5 year old’s speech sound, language or emergent literacy development, contact us today!

Speech sound and language expectations for children
Lauren Crumlish Brisbane Kids Speech Therapist

Lauren Crumlish

Author of "What should I expect of my kindy-aged child’s speech sound and language development?"

Our blog series has been consciously created to answers the questions that we commonly receive from parents, teachers and doctors. We also hope to bring awareness to the range and extent of communication challenges that children and teenagers may face in their home, school and social environments. We hope that our blog series may also highlight the role and importance of paediatric speech pathology.

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